Nevermore ~ the Raven

Nevermore ~ 6″ x 6″ mixed media on panel
For Sale on Daily Paintworks
“…Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'” ~Edgar Allen Poe


I’ve long had a fascination with ravens. They seem to have an extraordinary intelligence. We had one as a pet, when I was a child. It was injured, and my father rescued it. We nursed it back to health and it actually learned to say hello, and would greet us when we approached.
Last summer I had the great fortune to witness a raven “funeral”. There was a dead raven on the side of the road. As I sat on the deck, eating my lunch, a squawking, raucous murder of ravens flew up and landed in a tree just behind their fallen comrade. A lone raven separated from the group and walked a few circles around the dead one. The whole time, the others were calling noisily. Then the lone raven flew back to the tree. With that, they fell silent, and as if on cue, quietly flew away with a rush of wings.
The moment left me with goosebumps and a little breathless, for what was clearly an homage to their fallen friend.
I wanted this painting to have a bit of an otherworldly feeling. I have long doodled spirals, and I went into this painting intentionally trying to call my intuitive creative spirit instead of being purely representational and the spirals appeared.
 I put paint on and wiped it off. I sprayed water on it and let it drip. I put bubble wrap in the wet paint, and played with metallics. The swirls are actually painted in metallic cold. The background is acrylic paint and the raven is in oils.

A Doodle Gone Good ~ The Raven

~The Raven ~ pen and ink, and photoshop
I have to admit, I have been horribly remiss when it comes to painting…sigh…where did my discipline go!?  I’ve been making jewelry, and inventing recipes for gluten free, sugar free baked goods, and sewing for the local farmer’s market, everything else but painting.  The business of summer has turned into the business of fall!  
Also something else is taking up a bit of my time…I confess, I got a job. One where you work for someone else, put in your hours and get a paycheck. It is only part time, because I do still consider myself a full time artist, but I needed the social fix, more so than the money. Being an artist is a lonely occupation. And the stress of depending solely on my art for finances really took away a lot of the pleasure that I used to get from painting. I’m happy to say that this year has actually been wonderful as far as my art goes. Sales every year are getting better and better, I just needed a break so that I could learn how to love it again:) I started a new grizzly bear yesterday, though, so I think I’m back on a roll. I’ll post progress pics soon. And I’m hoping to get another “charity” portrait done by next week, too. 
Anyways, this painting came together pretty quickly the other day. I was actually just doodling on a random bit of paper, and my doodle looked pretty good, so I decided to add some ink washes. The kids brought home a raven or crow feather, too, and I had another bit of paper, so I sketched the feather on that piece and added some more ink. I spent the rest of the day scanning it into the computer and trying to come up with a cohesive design in photoshop since it was just two random bits. At first I thought it would look neat with just the feather and the raven, but it looked too empty and disconnected. So I added a verse from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven” behind, and it tied it seems to have visually tied it all together.
What do you think?